On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

Santa's Land Sign
Santa's Land

Amusement parks also give this section of the Smokies a leg up on those boring spots that only offer scenic beauty. Here you can find two great theme parks, Ghost Town in the Sky and Santa's Land. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to ride all the rides and take in these amusement parks, but we wanted to peek in the fence, poke around the gift shop, and use the bathroom at Santa's Land. Evidently, St. Nick spends the off season running a theme park in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. The admission price to Santa's Land bankrolls Santa's free-range, elf-made, toy factory at the North Pole.

Author's Note: Santa's original shop was in Greenland until 1942. In the summer of that year, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met with Santa at the infamous "Lump of Coal for the Axis Powers Conference." The Allied leaders wanted Santa to suspend Christmas for the duration of the War and convert the toy workshop into a munitions factory. Santa hated the Axis Power's as much as the next guy in a bright red suit. But Santa could not, in good conscious, take an active role in war or cancel Christmas. Santa faced a conundrum. What could he do? In a very blatantly passive aggressive way, Santa agreed to trade the Allies his workshop for real estate at the North Pole and in the western portion of North Carolina. At the North Pole, Santa built a new state of the art toy factory and in North Carolina he created an amusement park. The Allies soon found the old workshop was not suited for making weapons, but a perfect place to test jokes for Bob Hope's USO show. Later in the war -- the summer of '45 -- Santa lost the favor of the US State Department, when he refused President Truman's request to deliver a couple of early "Christmas presents" to the emperor of Japan. However, the U.S. did pay tribute to Father Christmas and his contributions to the war effort by naming two atomic bombs "Fat Man" and "Little Boy", in honor of St. Nick and his factory of elves. The elves where particularly angered by the "Little Boy" moniker.

Elf My brother and I tried to find Santa Claus, but all we found were some very tall and surly elves eating tofu dogs in the Santa's Land snack bar. I asked if I could speak to Santa, and I was told that I could kiss Santa if I paid 12 bucks for a ticket. My brother replied, "For 12 bucks Santa can kiss my butt." Then I asked if the 12 dollars included a tour of the hollow tree where all of the delicious crackers and the cookies were made. Suddenly, we were bombarded with a barrage of G.I. Joe dolls and Nintendo 64 joysticks. Wendell led the retreat, I followed ahead of him. I learned when I was 6, that when your host hits you with a doll, it's either time to fight or leave. I learned when I was 25, that elves fight dirty and if you fight one, you fight them all. We got back into the car, just in the "Saint" nick of time. I saw one elf pulling out toy rocks and plastic stones to throw. It was time to get the heck outta Santa's Land. With a Bo and Luke Duke whoop and the blast of my "Dixie" car horn, we squealed out of the parking lot. We sped away to seek safety on the other side of the North Carolina border, because everybody knows NC elves have no jurisdiction across state lines.
Author's Note: I don't have a "Dixie" car horn. I wish I had a "Ka-ooo-gah" car horn. But, my car horn is just a boring old Saturn car horn. Fudge!

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